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“Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things-the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on-will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God’s promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.

All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them toward the future without the need to know exactly what it would look like. Let’s live with hope.”

-Henri Nouwen

Understanding the King Holiday: A Reflection and a Poem

 

It is my contention that Martin Luther King Jr. lived and died with same this hope.

Today on Catholic365.com, I have published an excerpt from my master’s thesis, Making All Things New: The Redemptive Value of Unmerited Suffering In the Life and Works of Martin Luther King Jr.” (master’s thesis), Wake Forest University, 2000.

Please remember that the King Holiday is a call to action, to help others and to draw together as people, not a day to play.

 

“Through the sacrifice of the Mass, we have the opportunity to join our sufferings to Christ’s sufferings, to fill up that which is lacking in his afflictions for the sake of the Church. If we can attach meaning to our suffering, if there is some value in what we are experiencing, we can endure anything. Think about it: Nothing in life has meaning unless we attach meaning to it.”

-from When You Suffer

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“And above all, be on your guard not to want to get anything done by force, because God has given free will to everyone and wants to force no one, but only proposes, invites and counsels.”

— St. Angela Merici

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“We have difficulty understanding this, just as a blind man has difficulty understanding color, but our difficulty doesn’t alter this fact: God’s omnipotence and omniscience respects our freedom. In the core of our being we remain free to accept or reject God’s action in our lives—and to accept or reject it more or less intensely. God wants us to accept him with all our ‘heart, soul, mind, and strength’—in other words, as intensely as possible. But he also knows that we are burdened with selfishness and beset by the devil, so it will take a great effort on our part to correspond to his grace. … Every time our conscience nudges us to refrain from sharing or tolerating that little bit of gossip, every time we feel a tug in our hearts to say a prayer or give a little more effort, every time we detect an opportunity to do a hidden act of kindness to someone in need, we are faced with an opportunity to please the Lord by putting our faith in his will.”

— Fr. John Bartunek

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